A Myanmar military court sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former adviser, Australian Sean Turnell, to three years in prison on Thursday for violating the country’s Official State Secrets Act.
According to a Reuters report citing an unnamed source familiar with the case and the media coverage of it, Turnell was also found guilty of violating an immigration law and sentenced to an additional three years in prison. A former British envoy, an American journalist, and a Japanese filmmaker have all been charged under the same law.
In 2021, the military staged a coup that overthrew Suu Kyi’s government and led to the imprisonment of thousands of politicians, lawmakers, bureaucrats, students, and media who had supported her. Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to at least 23 years in prison, mostly on corruption allegations. She denies all of the charges.
Australian officials have demanded the immediate release of economist Sean Turnell, and rejected the court ruling.
“The Australian government has consistently rejected the charges against Professor Turnell during the more than 19 months he had been unjustly detained by the Myanmar military regime,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement.
“We will continue to take every opportunity to advocate strongly for Professor Turnell until he has returned to his family in Australia.”